King Conversions
The KING of 6 Meter Amplifiers
History of the QRO King
The initial question typically asked by those who do not already know me is “how did I get the name
“QROKING”. This is a name that I was given many years after I had first become a ham. I’ll get to that
part later. I was initially licensed back in 1967 as a novice at the age of 13. My original call was
WN1GSO. I spent about 9 months as a novice with only about 4 months left before my one year
license would expire. I went to New York City to take my first major ham test, the General exam. I
passed this test and was issued the call WA1GSO. I enjoyed all the privileges of being able to use
every frequency allotted to the ham operator by the FCC. Not too long after I enjoyed this privilege,
phase one of incentive licensing went into effect. This forced me to get an Advanced class license or
else “bye bye” to some of my favorite frequencies. Hitting the books for a few months and went back
to New York City to pass the Advanced test. Splitting time between , school, operating, and studying
for the Advanced, there was little time for much else. One year later, here comes phase two of
incentive licensing. This time I have to go and get an Extra Class license so I don’t lose anymore
frequencies. (ones I already had). Thinking is was not much of an incentive as it was outright robbery
by the ARRL and the FCC, I cracked the books once again and ventured out to get an Extra Class
license. Another trip to New York City netted me an Extra Class license. I wondered at this point what
the next ARRL/FCC maneuver might force me to have to do. As history would have it, I was at the
highest rank never to have to be deprived again. In fact those who came after me had a reversal of
heart by the ARRL/FCC and “incentive” as I knew it took a big change. We all know what that was and
does not need to be discussed.

In the mid 1970’s after several years of operating AM on 75 meters, with the likes of W2OY, WA1HLR,
K1TJX, and the multitude of “peanut whistles” , I was bitten by the DX bug! I was seriously hooked on
DX big time! With this came the need for a better antenna, so the next thing was to get up a beam.
With that done some of the pile ups were easier to bust. But with only about 150 watts from a Yeasu
FT-101 I was at the bottom of the pile-up pecking order. The next move was mo’ power. Around this
time my two best ham friends also got hooked on DX, and as a result, a competition ensued. It was a
weekly discussion on how many “new ones” we worked that week. As soon as the words MORE
POWER became reality, the 3 of us bought SB-220 amplifiers and we all built them. Now we all have
Kilowatt amplifiers!! There was still many DX countries we needed to work. The competition among us
was fierce to say the least! Not only did working new DX contacts become a competition among us, it
soon became a competition to see who busted the pile ups on the new ones first!! All 3 of us were
pretty much neck and neck with our DX contact numbers, never more than 1 or 2 countries separating
us.

Since we all needed the same DX contacts, we would often all be in the pile ups at the same time. Lets
say you were “laughed at” if you were the last one to make the contact in the pile up. Just making the
contact was no longer the “only” competition. One of the 3 of us (not me) secretly obtained what was
later called the “secret weapon”. The “secret weapon” became no secret when we realized that one of
us was always #1 in the pile ups. It was revealed to be an 8877 amplifier that would put out half again
as much power as the SB-220. This imbalance of power (pun indented) lasted for quite some time
until it became evident that not being #1 or not busting the worst of pile ups got you laughed at and
even humiliated! Not being one to take such things lightly I came across a homebrew single 4CX1500
homebrew amplifier for sale in New Hampshire. I bought this amp along with a monster power supply it
had. Still not matching the power of the “secret weapon” I thought, what if I added a second 4CX1500
to that same amplifier? There was room for a second tube in the RF deck. Other than building the
Heathkit SB-220 amplifier which came with excellent “step by step” instructions, what would I need to
do to get a second 4CX1500 in that amp? Spending a good part of my “off the air” time reading the
Handbook section on RF Amplifiers, back issues of QST and CQ magazines with amplifier articles, I
gained just enough knowledge to know what needed to be done to add a second 4CX1500 tube to the
existing amplifier. So I gathered up the needed parts and went to work. The moment of truth came one
day when I threw the big switch on that power supply. It was one of the scariest days of my life! Well, I
guess I was lucky, I hit the switch and low and behold, no smoke. So I set up the Bird wattmeter and
the dummy load and tried out this amp with 2 tubes. I got about an 800 watt increase in power, by
adding the second tube using the same power supply. By this time with all the anticipation of my new
creation, the focus on busting pile ups was secondary and the simple deflection of the Bird Wattmeter
became the new focus. Now it was all about power and not pile ups. During the time I was working on
my creation, the other ham with the “secret weapon” obtained secret weapon #2. Always keeping
things secret he was waiting to see what my 2 tube 4CX1500 would do. Heated discussions about
power output ensued and the “Golden Brick Award” was established. The Golden Brick Award would
be given to that ham who could make a 5KW Bird wattmeter meter slug go further to the right! An
official committee was formed to measure power output. All those must be present to observe the
readings. The Golden Brick Award would be awarded to the winner. What was secret weapon #2 that
the other ham had? It was an Ameritron Al-1500. Now this amp driven with a tad over 100 watts will
easily do about 2500 watts output. The 2 tube 4CX1500 with the power supply it had could not match
the AL-1500 with its massive Peter Dahl transformer and powerful 8877 tube. The Golden brick was
awarded, but NOT to me. Question is, what could beat that AL-1500? I was getting a lesson on tubes
real quickly as this all unfolded. I made a deal to purchase “secret weapon #1” which was the
homebrew single 8877 that was replaced by the Al-1500. The plan was to use “secret weapon #1”
against it very own previous owner. Armed with knowledge of the dual 4CX1500 amplifier I knew I
would have to add a second 8877 to secret weapon #1 and beef up the power supply. The quest for
all the additional parts needed to obtain this goal began. With no fooling around and nothing to stand
in my way, I made a call to Peter Dahl. I ordered up a 5v 20 amp filament transformer and a
3000vac@ 2 amp CCS plate transformer. In the mean time I got hold of some K2AW block diodes,
and a couple of 32UF@5000 volt oil filled caps and some BIG bleeder resistors along with a 30A
variac.

While waiting for all the parts to arrive I brought over a dedicated 40A 240v circuit from my breaker
panel to feed the new “Monster amp”. Being in uncharted waters with the building of such a BIG power
supply and a 2 tube RF deck, there was a lot of talk that “this will never come to happen” Being one
that is VERY persistent I labored day and night on this project in between consulting the handbook
and other amplifier articles. Since there was no real schematic I was following for the project, I felt my
way thorough based on the “needs” of the 2 tubes. The power supply was built in a rack about 4 feet
tall with wheels on it and it weighed a ton! The RF deck was modified for 2 tubes. This was surely a
“Monster Amp”. Another day of reckoning came, and the BIG SWITCH on the power supply was about
to be thrown. God forgive me of all my sins if I made a mistake somewhere! I actually hit the “on”
switch using a broom stick handle about 6 feet long as I hid behind a half wall adjacent to the power
supply. Well I guess all my studying paid off as again, there was no smoke. The next thing was to see
what this monster would do. Needing a bit more than 100 watts drive, I used a small Dentron GLA-
1000 amplifier to drive the monster. Ok, so it was the exciter driving the GLA-1000, driving the
monster amp. With Bird wattmeter in line with 5KW slug and a 2500 watt air cooled Bird dummy load in
line, the meticulous loading of the driver amp and monster amp commenced. Carefully watching the
grid current to not exceed 350 mills (or else fry the tubes) I loaded the amps carefully. The result?
Well lets say the 5KW slug in the Bird meter was no match for the monster amp, it easily went full
scale and then some. Before anything could possibly happen I called for a meeting of the committee.
The committee convened in my ham shack where the monster amp resided. With all present to
witness the results, the big switch was once again thrown, everything being all loaded up as before,
we just needed to press the key in the CW mode to check the power. Taking the liberty once again I
let the monster amp do it’s thing. Once again the Bird wattmeter went all the way to the right and then
some. The committee witnessing this first hand immediately re-issued the Golden Brick Award. As the
award was proudly bestowed upon me the words uttered were “and the award goes to Lou the
“QROKING”. From that day forward I was know by the committee as the “QROKING” and the name
has stuck. I still obtain the Golden Brick Award, and no one in the committee has challenged it since.
Since I called this amplifier the “Monster Amp” it reminded me of the famous Dr. Frankenstein
creation, it turned out that his own creation was his demise. The Monster Amp was dismantled and no
longer exists.

With the knowledge obtained from home brewing both of these amplifiers and power supplies I got
pretty good at repairing all sorts of amplifier problems for local hams. Later on when the Internet came
into existence I spend hours upon hours of searching out tube data, and anything available on
amplifiers. Years of being fascinated with amplifiers went by. I once took a part time job teaching
electronic troubleshooting in a major electronic corporation. I taught the basic steps one would take to
troubleshoot any problem with low level electrical and electronic equipment. It was a very rewarding
experience!